"We'll find a way"
Nearly 21 years ago, one moment changed everything for Nondis Wright and her family. She was driving home from work when the next thing she knew, she had careened off the road.
“One moment, she blacked out, and then she was in a ditch,” explains her daughter, Renee Wright-Davis, an EHR Learning & Development Specialist at Adventist Health. “We attributed it to her being tired from her commute.”
But that was only the first of many inexplicable things that happened to Nondis over the years that followed. During one incident, her legs suddenly gave out at work. This led to another ER visit with no clear answers. “Again, we attributed it to her being tired,” Renee recalls.
Renee and her family have for years answered their own questions regarding Nondis’ medical mysteries because they have not received them from the experts. “It’s like a puzzle,” Renee says. “We see all these people and we try to put together what’s happening.”
After hundreds of trips to the ER and visits across the spectrum of medical specialists, they still have no diagnosis. But as Renee explains, they do have each other. “I am my mother’s caretaker,” she shares. “Our saying is ‘No matter what, we’ll find a way.’”
“Our saying is ‘No matter what, we’ll find a way.’”
Throughout her mom’s health journey, Renee has learned a lot about the art and importance of listening. “You can tell when someone’s actively listening – eye contact, nodding,” she says. “They repeat back what you said and confirm to you that they heard you.”
Renee adds that during her mom’s medical encounters, their experience is often the opposite.
“There have been so many times I’ve had to hold my dad’s hand so he doesn’t get angry and be the calm voice of our family, because doctors don’t listen to [my mom],” she adds. “On her really bad days, we have to remind her that if no one else is listening, we are, because we see it and feel it every day. And she can’t give up because we’re not going to give up.”
Renee says her journey with her mom has changed the way she approaches and connects with her work. “I’ve always been an empathetic person, but now I’m in overdrive,” she says. “It’s more important to me now to listen to people before I say anything.”
Renee’s experiences with her mom have also shaped her goals for the future. “I'm slowly but surely working toward being a public health nurse," she shares. "I want to be a nurse that fights for cultural competency." "My inspiration for my career path is my mom,” she adds. “At the end of the day, we all just want love and understanding. And that goes a long way.”
“At the end of the day, we all just want love and understanding. And that goes a long way.”